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Old 01-31-2011, 03:09 AM   #1 
Marona
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pacific Northwest
Upgrading to a filtered tank, inexperienced. Need some advice D:

So I've had my betta for about a week or so. Lovely red halfmoon with a blue sheen on his scales.



I started him in just one of those little Marina tanks with the rocks. Even though he's a pretty small fish, I realized just how annoying these things are. He's really pretty happy with it, especially since I added a leaf hammock. But, I finally got too frustrated with the iffiness and inability to really develop a nice bacterial colony without a filter and with keeping the water clear. Having only now read into many sites (coming back to this one again and again) I have registered here in hopes of you guys helping me to get my little guy into a happy and healthy environment. I'm really enjoying messing with the tanks, it's just I want to get this one just right before I change it. I feel so bad because he's had to deal with me messing with his temporary Marina tank while he's been in there. (So much so he's even more fine with my presence then before)

Long story short: I'm just trying to get this thing cycled and I want to do it as fast as possible so that he can start living life up.

I got a 5gal hexagon Topfin from Petsmart. (Didn't have any rectangular 5gals with a hood and the nearest pet store with one was too far when I got it) Used gravel for the bottom and planted the stupid little Beta Plant Bulbs also from Topfin (Aponogetons.) There's three of them, and one already seems to be doing what I'd say as a clueless person is budding lol. White clumps appearing on them. I also have some small duckweed, though I might decide to dump that before it gets out of hand. I just like the look of it on the top of the water.

I don't have any nylons just lying around. Since the shrimp method is said to be the easiest and I'm unsure about the food method and how much to put in there, I'm wondering if I can use a plastic bag and just poke holes in it? Rather then a nylon since I don't really have any lying around and I've already spent tons on this whole set up.

As far as test kits go, I got an ammonia one by itself as I couldn't find any all-in-one kits at Petco and I figured that it would be easiest to start with the ammonia test anyways. It's by API. I hope this is a reputable brand. The readings so far seem to be ok. Now I just have to find a nitrate test.

My second biggest concern is this bubbler I got. I really love the look but I know bettas can sometimes shy away from these. I figured if I could find a small air pump it would be ok, but all I could find was a 10gal. And ugh it really disturbs the surface. I'm nervous because when I put a little too much duckweed in his little tank it really bothered him. When I took a lot out for the new tank he has calmed down about it but I don't know how that behavior will pan over with the bubbler.

Are bubblers not even recommended with betta? I'm okay without. I just think it looks cool.

Thanks if you read this. If you skim it that's fine. I just thought I'd include a lot of info so that you can get a good idea of what I'm doing and may be doing wrong.

The tank(s):



The bubbler:
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:42 AM   #2 
Canuck Fins
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API is a really good brand. You'll need tests for nitrites and nitrates as well. :)

I don't think you need a bubbler with a betta. To cycle, you do need a filter and that will create some current in your tank you may end up needing to baffle to minimize the current. (There are lots of posts on here about baffles.)

Good luck with cycling!
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:04 AM   #3 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping....

You can get a gang valve and put on the pump/airline tubing to slow the bubble down so they are not to disruptive to the Betta since you like the look...the bubbles are not needed per se for the Betta...but if you like it...fix it so that both of you can enjoy it.....

I couldn't tell by the pic and maybe you posted this information and I just missed it...but....does this tank have a filter....also to understand....you have the Betta in the 5g now correct.....and you plan to remove him for the fishless cycle or are you wanting to fish in cycle?

You can safely cycle with the fish provided that you are willing and able to make the needed water changes...

On the apon bulbs-it is best to let them lay on the surface of the substrate and once they sprout they will send their roots into the substrate and anchor themselves....if you do plant them only bury half the bulb and if they start to get mushy and smell bad-remove them and throw away

Your floating plants-duckweed- will benefit your tank, however, you will need to thin it out on a regular basis since it grows really fast.....
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:23 AM   #4 
Marona
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The tank I got was a whole kit. Not for betta, but regardless it came with a filter. It's a whisper and has been kind of annoying so far. Seems pretty powerful as it keeps my duckweed on one side of the tank, as well as sucks it up before spitting it back out the top.

I got a live Bacopa plant since the others are taking a bit to grow and I wanted to be able to get him in there sooner. (As I just gave in to a second fish -cough-)

But he seemed pretty happy with his tank. The filter is just kind of bothering him. It's pretty strong. :/ I'm not really sure what to do about it. He's sitting pretty low right now as he's a bit nervous, plus that current is bothering him. I'm going to give him a few days then see what happens.

Thanks for the advice. :) I also got that valve gauge and it works amazing. Keeping it at a really low setting now so he has less to get used to at once. But he actually loves it! He was over there biting the bubbles just a few minutes ago. My fish is so weird lol.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:53 AM   #5 
Oldfishlady
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Personally....if the filter is bothering the Betta I would remove it and not worry about the nitrogen cycle and just make more water changes or add more live plants......sometimes the filter or water movement from the filter can stress the Betta and cause torn fins...kinda like the flag in the wind action...lol.....

In a 1-4g unfiltered tank I would make twice weekly water changes-1-50% and 1-100%
In 5g unfiltered I would make twice weekly 50% with a monthly 100%

Unless you add more plants and the duckweed is great and stem plants you can reduce the water changes by half and the 100% changes if you have lots of rooted plants......let the plants be the filter....
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:54 PM   #6 
Marona
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I had unplugged the filter before I went to work so I'll probably just do that for now. Maybe get a different filter later. I'm curious if those under gravel ones actually work.

He had already calmed down a bit before I left so hopefully this will be better for him. I don't mind the changes, I just want the water to stay clean. If I don't have a filter is it then impossible to get a second, most likely bottom feeder, tank mate? I still have the bubbler. He doesn't mind, a
nd even likes, that.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #7 
Oldfishlady
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I wouldn't recommend any other fish with the Betta unless you have a 10g or larger tank....shrimp and snails are fine.....

If your turn the filter off for longer than 6 hours-either don't turn it back on or dump the water and rinse well before using it due to the bad bacteria and ammonia that can thrive in it.

Regardless of filtration-water changes are still needed-filters will help to remove larger debris from the water column, however, this debris is still in the tank-in the filter-filter media is where a lot of the beneficial bacteria will colonize to help establish the biological filtration as long as they receive the needed oxygen and food....
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:37 PM   #8 
Marona
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Alright then. :) I don't really mind doing the water changes so it should be fine so long as the water stays clear. I couldn't get his last tank to stay a nice color at all.

He's entirely comfortable in his tank, now, though. I just think his fins might have gotten slightly damaged due to the filter and not being used to it. So I'm glad I just took that out. More room for plants without it.

He's flaring at his reflection right now. Just need to get my newest betta a little less sick looking...
Thanks for the help, though!
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:20 PM   #9 
dramaqueen
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You have to have a filter to cycle a tank.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:48 PM   #10 
Marona
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And I just got a new one tonight. It's meant for a 3gal. It uses air to filter and since I already had an air pump I just put away the one it came with and used the two-way gang valve I got. Working great so far, Acro doesn't mind it at all. I know it's not going to fully keep my tank filtered but it's better then nothing, darnit! I also got a second plant.

Unfortunately he didn't get away from the first without injury. It's not big, just two tiny holes in his dorsal fin. It doesn't seem bothersome at all, though. He's still his old self lol.



The only thing that I'm actually kind of worried about is that his dorsal fin also is doing something odd now. It's sort of...curling over when he's not flaring out. Like a fist. I don't recall it doing it before. :/ I don't know if it will heal, either. I do hope it does.

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